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Golders Green Parish Church – Newsletter
30 March 2021
Greetings to everyone
: Wishing you all a Happy Easter.
Reflecting throughout Good Friday, it occurred to me how, for innumerable people, the year has been a very long Good Friday. So many have, and still are, suffering from illness, loss, grief, depression, loneliness, anxiety, and loss of hope. What is left-out that you would like to add I wonder? But, in the end it is Hope that we can hold on to, or grasp if you like, as we come to Easter Sunday with its powerful, lasting act of Hope, Love and Promise, given in a way greater than any of us could have possibly imagined. We were never promised that life would be easy, as we well know, but we do have our Faith and Love that Jesus Christ brings, with his example and teaching especially towards those who were disregarded, living on the edge of society, and seen as outcasts among the people of his time and for us. He was never afraid to challenge the powerful, speak out against injustice and embrace the weak. He was their Hope as he is ours. So perhaps it is something we could do in our different ways, to be unafraid in this age of injustice and oppression in so many countries including this one, to speak out, challenge and act to support those who need us, as Jesus did in his, in the face of much criticism and persecution by those who fear their loss of power and status. We owe it to him and each other to “go and do likewise”.
This was sent for Maundy Thursday
showing such a powerful example of tireless service
given by so many to so many.
In this week’s edition we have an Easter message from The Bishop of Edmonton. We thank him for his words and the support he has shown us during the past months.
There are also thank you messages to those who have contributed to the newsletter throughout Lent and Easter and to those who read it (and, of course, in hope we do get more from those of you who would like to write something - anything!).
Thank you, Charlotte, for the way you have presided at the services and especially for your sermons that have been much appreciated; they have been a key part of our newsletter for those who could not access zoom. The good news is that you will be with us for a while longer to provide continuity which is important and valuable at this time.
Thank you to all those who have contributed your thoughts, experiences, book suggestions and information about what is happening across the world and towards our community by the way you have shown support to the Night Shelter and each other – just invaluable.
Thank you to our young people for your beautiful drawings, paintings and designs that have enriched the newsletter. Please keep them coming as much as you like because we love them!
Thank you to Michael S, Dean (Emeritus) of Durham, for sending prayers and poetry each week to us. In many ways doing so for him was a “coming home”, as his young life was spent in Golders Green and Temple Fortune, places he knows well. He commented in a message, “sending the prayers and poems home struck me with with some force as an insight into my story”.
Thank you to Alison B, for her photographs of nature and the beauty of creation. Alison and Richard live near Knepp, the Rewilding Estate in West Sussex, where animals roam freely and there is a great variety of wildlife. The storks pictured below have been brought back to England after a 400 years’ absence in the hope they would nest and breed their young. This was successful. If you get to visit the estate, when we are freer to do so, you will be able to see them along with so much else. A book about Rewilding in Knepp is in our book recommendations below and in keeping with our Eco aims for ourselves as a church and the Country.
Thank you to Tony for making sure we could meet up with each other through zoom and be part of the services each Sunday. Now the church is open we will have the opportunity to do both, zoom and be physically present, which is the best of both worlds. Finally, thank you Jennifer for making sure the newsletter was sent each week to everyone.
I often think of Easter as the beginning of the year, rather than January, it seems more natural timing with Spring and new birth so let us hope this is a more promising and Hopeful one for everyone.
Love and good wishes – Sally
"The Beauty of Creation" by Alison
This weeks edition includes:
Easter Message from The Bishop of Edmonton
Thoughts from Tony;
Sermon from Charlotte;
Easter Song by George H;
Telling Stories by Sally;
How We Are.
Links to services, hymns, and broadcasts.
Easter Message from The Bishop of Edmonton
The Easter story is earth shattering, simply the most important event that has ever taken place. Death has been defeated- what an awesome claim for Christians to make.
What extraordinary hope, particularly in a year of lamentation and grief. In many homes there is now an empty chair where a loved one once sat, or there is a person who is more fragile, in their mental or physical health than they were just 12 months ago. What a year it has been.
I’m always moved by a couple of the resurrection stories, and I’d like to offer just three reflections, for Golders Green, if I may.
Firstly, despite being abused, beaten, denied and betrayed by those whom Jesus loved alongside those who were threatened by him, his words in the resurrection are, peace be with you. We have much to learn about what it means to be a people of peace- so different from being people to just want to live peacefully. The former is a tough road, where injustices need to be challenged, peoples need to be heard and prejudice needs to be called out. The latter is about brushing issues under the carpet. Jesus’s resurrection and Jesus hope gives me the confidence and desire to work towards peace, as we work from a position of all of us needing forgiveness, for all of us are broken. Yet in the resurrection, we are everything.
Secondly, and very poignantly following the death of Sarah Everard, I’m mindful that the first apostles, those charged with proclaiming the resurrection were women. This was a deliberate choice by Jesus, and clearly the Gospel narratives give ample opportunity for Jesus to tell the disciples to go and proclaim. This is a reminder to me that Jesus wants us to be radical in our approach, radical in our mission, radical in who leads worship or who is in positions of responsibility and authority, and that with the resurrection, we must expect surprises, and be prepared to live in God’s imagination, and not our own. This is a very difficult thing to do.
Finally, I’m also challenged by the Jesus and Peter dynamic. When Jesus and Peter go for a walk, having had breakfast, and once the fish had been brought ashore, Jesus asks Peter three times, do you love me. I am struck by Jesus first reply to peter, after Peter has responded yes. Feed my lambs. This is a command that was not just uttered to Peter, but to the Church. Lambs are vulnerable, small, weak and helpless. Lambs are usually the first pickings form the wolf when an attach is taking place, as they cannot walk, cannot get away. These are to be fed with the hope in the resurrection. So, as we enter into a new chapter here in Golders green, who and where are the lambs that we are being asked to feed? The most vulnerable. In a Covid world, this is a crucial question that we need to be answering.
Friends, Easter is our season, and our song is Alleluia. May your Easter be filled with joy, as Jesus leads us all into new life. Our calling is to expect the unexpected, build peace, and to serve the poorest in our society. May your Easter be richly blessed.
"As you may recall, the Bishop, Pamela and I are to meet with the Archdeacon and the Area Dean to interview the candidates for our incumbency next Tuesday. So I would ask for your prayers for us all as we ask questions deliberate on the responses and consider who might be the person who could be our incumbent. We need God's wisdom and insight into each person. We need grace and compassion and staying power. Out of next Tuesday we hope,to alight on two to then meet in person."
Sermon from Charlotte
Fra Angelico “Noli Me Tangere” 1436
I wonder what the overriding images you have in your mind which capture the essence of the past year. For me, there are two images that emerged very early on in the pandemic that have stuck with me. The first was a photo from Italy, just when here in the UK we were beginning to realise quite how serious the threat of covid was – the image was of a priest sprinkling water upon a huge church filled with the coffins of those who had died; the morgues were no longer able to keep up with the demand to store bodies. The second, which also emerged quite early on in the pandemic, was from Ireland – a photo of a tiny newborn baby, just days old, being held up to the window inside a house by its father, whilst its grandfather looked at his new grandchild from outside the window. They are images that it was good to have in tandem, and they are Holy Week, and indeed the whole of Lent, in a microcosm; at the beginning of Lent we marked ourselves with ash and reminded ourselves of our own mortality and destiny for the grave; two days ago we stood at the foot of the cross with Mary and John as we saw the saviour of the world hung upon it to die. But today we rejoice that after death, comes life.
This morning we find, just as Mary Magdalen and Simon Peter did on the first Easter Day, that the tomb is empty, that Christ has been raised from the dead and can die no more. Death and dust and ashes can have no more power over him or over any of us. As St Paul says in the letter to the Romans we heard this morning – “We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.”
So what does it mean, literally, to say that Christ is Risen? There are various strands of liberal Christian thought that interpret the resurrection to be some sort of metaphor; that the disciples experienced perhaps some sort of feeling or presence among them but not the physical body of the Risen Christ.
I’m afraid I have no truck with that strand of thought. I don't stand here today – and every Sunday - to celebrate something that only happened in the minds of a group of grieving friends 2000 years ago. I am here to celebrate the fact that Christ who died has been physically raised from the dead and subsequently that he has opened the gate of eternal life for us all. St Paul warns against disbelieving the physical, bodily resurrection of Christ when he says, “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ.”
When we say that Christ is Risen, we mean that the body that was crucified on Good Friday was resurrected, changed, taken on a new meaning. And here is the important point – it is not that Jesus was resuscitated. It wasn’t like one of those scenes in Casualty where the heart machine starts flatlining and you think the person has died but then they use a defribilator and the person starts breathing again, coming back to their old way of life. That is what resuscitation is; being brought back from near death into your old body, your old way of life. Christ’s resurrected body is the beginning of a new kind of life. We don’t know exactly what was different and what was the same about that body.
We know it was not constrained in the same way as any of our bodies are because in John’s account we’re told that the disciples were in a locked room and he appeared to them. But we also know that Thomas touched the wounds in Christ’s hands and his side, so there must have been physical flesh to touch, and it must have been his earthly body in some ways.
Now if you found yourself hearing the resurrection stories and feeling a bit confused or unsure, that’s the point! So were the women, the disciples, the early Christian community. I encourage you to read at some point during the next 50 days of Eastertide the accounts from each of the four Gospels. Each of them is different, from a different angle. Some have suggested that the fact they are all different is evidence that it was all made up; I’d say the opposite. This is the writing of a community that was so shocked, so utterly unable to comprehend what had happened, that it’s no wonder the accounts are different and confused.
In Matthew there is an earthquake, and an angel appears at the tomb and tells the women that Jesus has risen; the women run to tell the disciples, and Jesus appears to them all and they take hold of his feet and worship him.
Mark’s account ends very abruptly, with the women coming to the tomb and finding the stone rolled back; they find an angel in the tomb who tells them Jesus has risen, but the women flee from the tomb and don’t tell anyone because they were afraid.
In Luke’s account the women find the empty tomb, with two angels inside it, and they run to tell the disciples what they have found, all of whom disbelieve them apart from Peter who runs to see the empty tomb himself. In the passage immediately after the one we heard this morning, the disciples walk to Emmaus – a village about 7 miles from Jerusalem – and Jesus starts walking alongside them and speaks to them, and it takes them a while to realise who he is.
And finally John’s beautiful account we heard this morning has Mary Magdalen by herself at the tomb weeping, and encountering a man she believes to be the gardener; it is only when he says her name that she realises him to be the Risen Jesus.
These four accounts point to a community that was trying to work out what an earth was going on, something for which – despite all Jesus’ predictions - there was no expectation, no precedent. If you were trying to convince the people around you of something that didn’t happen, you would get all your stories to sound polished, tallied up. – A bit like when you get a group of criminals lying to police they all agree their story beforehand to make sure they all say the same thing.
That’s not what’s happening here. This is a community coming to terms with an entirely new way of being, of life – and that’s what the resurrection is; a new way of life, a new way of relating to God because all the barriers that kept God and humankind apart have been torn down.
But perhaps most importantly, none of the accounts of the resurrection ends like a fairytale, where everybody lives happily ever after, and all the loose ends and threads of the story are neatly tied together. I think that’s what the endings would read like if this was a community who was trying to bring a rather sorry story to a final close. But instead, the endings are left wide open with the promise of new future and new life. And because it’s not a fairytale, we also don’t live happily ever after. What we celebrate today doesn’t take away pain and suffering and death in this life. I don’t think that Christians whose loved ones have died in the past year have felt any less grief or pain or sorrow than anybody else – just as Christians enduring suffering, or loneliness, or any other kind of human misery will feel less pain than someone who believes that death is the end, that this life is all that there is. This isn’t something that gives us all a happy ending. But it gives us the strength to confront the horror and tragedy of death; it gives us the knowledge that God has defeated death; that our horizons are not his horizons – “from death’s dread sting thy servants free”, as the line from the offertory hymn goes.
One of the things the Risen Jesus says over and over again to his disciples is, “Do not be afraid.” We have no need to fear death anymore, Christ has been there before and for us.
Christ is Risen; He is Risen Indeed. Alleluia.
Most glorious Lord of life,
Risen from the dead and present in our midst,
On this day of days your light dawns upon the world.
Fill us with gratitude and praise,
Banish sorrow and take away all fear,
That peace and hope may reign in every human heart
And your name be praised through all creation.
Alleluia! Blessed are you, risen Lord Jesus Christ,
Our joy for ever and ever. Amen.
Eggs by Noah and Luke
I got me flowers to strew Thy way,
I got me boughs off many a tree;
But Thou wast up by break of day,
And brought’st Thy sweets along with Thee.
The sun arising in the East,
Though he give light and th’ East perfume,
If they should offer to contest
With Thy arising, they presume.
Can there be any day but this,
Though many suns to shine endeavor?
We count three hundred, but we miss:
There is but one, and that one ever.
George Herbert 1593-1633; priest, poet, theologian
Our church by Mahalia
Telling Stories by Sally
During Holy week I linked into compline at Southwark Cathedral where Dr Gooder, Lay Canon of St Paul’s Cathedral, was telling familiar stories from the Gospels in her creative and engaging way. Dr Gooder is a much respected theologian, scholar, lecturer and writer (and the first lay canon to be appointed to St Paul’s). Each story was in two parts; the first was the background to the story, the context and meaning of the time, rooted in historical details to locate it in its setting. She aimed, through the telling to, “populate our historical imagination”, with a few new thoughts about people’s attitudes at that time, their religious practices, the context of the event and place, by imagining, for example what the Temple before Passover might have looked like. She asked us to evict from our minds the idea it would look anything like St Paul’s or Southwark Cathedral; the Temple would have been very heavily populated with over-crowded space, huge crowds all jostling, the money changers, people bringing the lambs for the Passover sacrifice to thousands of priests, the noise, the mingling smells of animals and people. Having put this into context, the second part, was an imaginative telling of the story, taken from the compline-reading of the day, seen from the point of view of one of the characters in it (not dis-similar to Ignatian contemplation). She asked us to use our imaginations to think ourselves into the story to generate newer, richer, deeper meanings and insights. In doing this she, in her telling, opened up many new paths, shed light on aspects that may not have occurred to us, brought awarenesses that will not easily be forgotten.
I don’t know about you but I love a story well told; one that feeds the mind inviting the listener into the heart of its meaning, bringing exploration of different worlds, opening up possibilities, warnings, ideas and thoughts – which is what all good stories should do.
When I was a teacher I used to tell many stories to my classes of young children; some were fairy stories, some fables, traditional tales from different cultures that linked up across nations in their different ways (the craftiness of Anansi Spider from the Ashanti tales and of Brer Rabbit from the American South). I told others I made up myself, usually relating to a very “bad dog” we had at the time, which made them laugh a great deal. All this to encourage them to think, imagine, explore, light up, discuss what they felt, but, never- ever spoiling a good thing by telling them what each one “really” meant. Children are quite capable of recognizing what a story is saying to them without us dictating its meaning!
In the olden days, in many cultures and faiths, the village story teller was considered a person of healing. The stories they told would work in different ways for each person who was often helped to recognize what the story was saying to them, the warnings it held, the recognition of their unhappiness that helped them understand and maybe experience healing. Jesus understood that so well through his skilled telling of many stories and parables to those who could hear, think about and understand what he was saying – or not.
We, in our lives have stories to tell from long past happenings, as Paula did during Holy Week, bringing the time alive to us, to those we are creating in the present day. I wonder, in years to come, when we look back on what has happened, what stories will we be telling to help others understand and think about what they mean for their lives. What would your story be?
The Southwark Cathedral Compline stories told by Paula Gooder have been recorded and are on video. They can be found by going to:
Monday: https://youtu.be/NKebDTucxig - from 8m10s and again at 33m
Tuesday: https://youtu.be/MEpOM7kO_iM from 9m20s and again at 29m35s
Wednesday: https://youtu.be/nDmV0VFfJ7Y starting at 8m45s and again at 27m40s
Simona’s Easter Bonnet
“Borders and Belonging: The Book of Ruth a Story for our Times” by Pádraig Ó Tuama & Glen Jordan. An exploration of Ruth, an outsider, a migrant, a vulnerable woman in a foreign land, told in context with issues of borders that are erected today. Both authors are members of the Corrymeela Community working for peace across Ireland
The Parables (Biblical Explorations) by Paula Gooder
“David's Crown: Sounding the Psalms”; “The Singing Bowl”; “Heaven in Ordinary”. Three of Malcolm Guites Poetry Books - there are many more - all published by Canterbury Press;
“Wilding: The Return of Nature to a British Farm” by Isabella Tree;
“The Heart’s Time”, Poems and Prayers by Janet Morley;
“Dear England”, is the letter the new Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, would like to write to acountry that no longer sees the relevance of a Christian narrative; https://youtu.be/abZT3rEeOj4.
“Candles in the Dark: Faith, Hope and Love in a Time of Pandemic” by Rowan Williams
If you go to the Edmonton Area link containing information you may find helpful.
Both links are on: https://vimeo.com/500890272 or the facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Edmonton-Episcopal-Area-644254219097579
How we are:
No messages have come for this part of the newsletter. Keep well everyone but please keep in touch.
Please continue to pray for those who have asked us as a community to pray for them
Okey Jnr. O, Margaret M, Yvone S, Anna M, Jason E, Ian K, Eva M, Juliette D, Ivor S, Myfanwy K , Dorothy N, Rose O, Judy N, David A, Gideon O, Simon H
Zoom link numbers
The link for the Sundays in April & May are:
Golders Green Parish Church is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Parish Worship
Time: Apr 11, 2021 10:00 AM London
Every week on Sun, until May 16, 2021, 7 occurrence(s)
Apr 11, 2021 10:00 AM
Apr 18, 2021 10:00 AM
Apr 25, 2021 10:00 AM
May 2, 2021 10:00 AM
May 9, 2021 10:00 AM
May 16, 2021 10:00 AM
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Daily Hope - The Church of England Phone line church service - is available 24 hours a day on 0800 804 8044 – has been set up particularly with those unable to join online church services during the period of restrictions in mind.
We at Golders Green Church will continue to offer a number of ways we can and will keep in contact though emailing and phoning each other, the use of Facebook and the website, sending out updates by supporting those who need shopping, prescriptions fetched, letters posted and anything else you may need if you are isolated at home, whether you are in the over 70-year-old age group, or, have underlying health conditions.
The important thing is, PLEASE LET US KNOW. Please email email@example.com
Radio, Television and Online Worship
You may wish to join in worship during this time through television and radio.
Check online, in the Radio Times and elsewhere for details:
Songs of Praise BBC 1, Sunday afternoon, variable times
Sunday Worship BBC Radio 4, Sunday, 8.10am Choral Evensong BBC
Radio 3, Wednesday Daily Service
BBC Radio 4 (Longwave only), weekdays, 9.45am
Big Sunday Service Premier Christian Radio, Sunday, 7am, 8am, 10am Easter Sunday Eucharist A service is usually broadcast on the BBC on Easter morning
Free 24 hour telephone church service 0800 804 8044
Online resources Church of England Daily Prayer https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/join-us-service-dailyprayer
https://mailchi.mp/b9d86a4acdc7/coming-up-from-st-pauls-cathedral-1274047?e=377e26b1db St Paul’s Cathedral have a number of resources available for us to use.
Church of England Online Resources during this time https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/coronaviruscovid-19-liturgy-and-prayer-resources
Go On-line to " ps://www.achurchnearyou.com", put in Area or post code and find a local church that broadcasts Worship.
Prayers from Christian Aid https://www.christianaid.org.uk/pray/churches/coronavirus-prayers
https://pray-as-you-go.org/ Pray as you Go (a short service each day in the Jesuit Tradition)
LICC have some great resources on their website https://www.licc.org.uk/
Especially on Covid-19 https://www.licc.org.uk/ourresources/prayer-journeys/presence-pressure-purpose/